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tv   CBS Morning News  CBS  March 14, 2011 4:00am-4:30am PDT

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disaster in japan. the crisis from friday's catastrophic earthquake and the tsunami that followed gets worse and worse. the death toll is surging. engineers are battling an expanding nuclear crisis that has forced the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people. the japanese armed forces are aiding in the search for thousands of missing. millions are without power or heat. and food and water are in short heat. and food and water are in short supply. captioning funded by cbs good morning, everyone, on a very busy monday. i'm terrell brown in for betty nguyen. three days after the fact the earthquake disaster in japan continues to snowball. the death toll from the nuclear and humanitarian crisis all
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growing this morning. here's the latest. it's now estimated that at least 10,000 people were killed by friday's massive quake and the tsunami that followed. tens of thousands are missing. early this morning, there was another explosion at a nuclear plant 150 miles north of tokyo. and a third reactor is in jeopardy after losing its cooling capabilities. some radiation has leaked. engineers are working to prevent a meltdown. more than 180,000 people have been evacuated from the area. the quake and the following tsunami wiped out entire towns. almost 2 million people are without power and heat in near-freezing temperatures. there are shortages of food and water and fuel. japan's prime minister says this is his country's worst crisis since world war ii. charlie d'agata is in tokyo with more. >> reporter: smoke poured out of his nuclear power plant following the second hydrogen explosion in three days. authorities say the blast didn't cause a massive radiation leak. still, u.s. warships and planes
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helping with relief efforts temporarily moved away from the area as a precaution. crews have been desperately trying to avoid a nuclear meltdown at the facility since it was damaged in friday's powerful earthquake. over the weekend they dumped sea water into the reactors to try to cool them down. more than 180,000 residents were also evacuated, and had to be scanned for radiation before entering shelters. across the northeast coast, more than 10,000 people are believed to be dead from the magnitude 9 quake, and tsunami. dramatic new video captured violent waves that slammed ashore, wiping out entire villages. since the massive earthquake three days ago, aftershocks continue to rattle the region. an average of 12 to 15 per hour. some more than 6.0 in magnitude. but there are stories of survival. crews rescued this 60-year-old man who was clinging to what was left of his roof. this man also made it out alive.
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i thought i was dying when i was pushed into the water, he says. but with thoughts of my family i decided to make every effort to survive. but for some surviving the initial disaster is not the hardest battle. in some are the hardest-hit areas, millions are trying to get by on little food, no running water, and no electricity. >> that was charlie d'agata reporting this morning. meanwhile 11 people were injured at an explosion this morning at the fukushima power plant. celia hatton is in fukushima with more on japan's nuclear crisis. >> reporter: another explosion at the damaged daiichi nuclear plant in fukushima. this time six plant workers were injured during an attempt to release a small amount of radioactive steam from the quake-hit daiichi reactor number 3. the explosion occurred during this exercise. but officials say the reactor's core remains intact. the blast was felt 25 miles away and triggered an alert for anyone left inside the nuclear evacuation zone to stay indoors.
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still japanese officials insist that radiation levels at the daiichi plant remain within legal limits. celia hatton, cbs news, fukushima, japan. u.s. naval vessels supporting japanese aid efforts have moved away from the coast near those damaged nuclear plants. the "uss ronald reagan" is one of two u.s. aircraft carrier groups off japan's coast. the "reagan" passed through a radioactive cloud from the stricken reactors. crew members on deck reportedly received a month's worth of natural radiation in about an hour. officials say none are experiencing ill effects from the exposure. engineers are trying to prevent the nuclear crisis from spreading. there are already indications, though, that fuel rods inside the fukushima plant may have partially melted. russ mitchell now on what this meltdown really is, and what they're doing to prevent it. >> fukushima's reactors are still generating heat. >> from the nuclear fuel rod it's much like if you had an electric stove and you
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immediately turn it off, if you put your hand on the stove, you will not be very happy. >> reporter: uranium pellets are insided long fuel rods. if the reactor is not cooled properly the tubes can fall apart. with the radioactive material falling to the bottom. >> it's like a car accident. can be a fender bender all the way up to a major collision. so when you talk about fuel melting, you can have just a few pellets melt or you could have a large number of pellets to melt. >> reporter: the key issue is whether the reactors are being adequately cooled with water. if not, melting could begin. >> when the fuel melts, it will flow like wax into the bottom of the reactor vessel head. and if there's water there it will solidify and freeze. end of story. >> reporter: fears of a radiological release are legitimate but cadac says no one should imagine a mushroom cloud. >> we're just hypothesizing. the releases will occur when the plant decides to open the reactor containment to relieve the pressure. >> reporter: experts say the
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situation at fukushima is similar to what happened at the three mile island nuclear plant in pennsylvania in 1979. >> there was a considerable melting of the core, but essentially all of the material was contained in the concrete containment. namely, very little of it was released. >> reporter: unlike volcano dust which can be carried long distances by winds, the nuclear regulatory commission says the west coast of the u.s. is not in danger. >> even if there were a significant release, it would be dispersed probably before it came to the united states. but at the present time, it seems unlikely that there will be major radioactive release. >> reporter: russ mitchell, cbs news, new york. this twin disaster has shaken japan's normally robust economy to its core. stocks fell sharply as trading resumed in toque yeah today. the nikkei average dropped more than 6% from friday's close. japan's central bank moved to support businesses affected by the quake, especially manufacturers by easing monetary policy. major automakers like toyota and
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nissan, as well as sony shut down their production lines in part because snarled transportation prevents them from getting out products to market. analysts expect japan's economic troubles to affect the u.s. markets, too. the dow opens today just over 12,000 after gaining 60 points on friday. the nasdaq is at 2716 after friday's rise of 15 points. as reported, the u.s. already has two search and rescue teams in japan and several navy warships just offshore. president obama has pledged to give japan any additional aid it requires. susan mcginnis is in washington with more on the relief effort. susan, good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, terrell. now, the u.s. is sending the disaster response teams to japan, providing other assistances aneeded to help japan respond to this crisis quickly. the main agency for providing assistance is u.s. aid. the agency for international development. that's a group behind those search and rescue teams that are right now on the ground, already searching for victims. about 75 people per team, and trained dogs who are trained to
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find victims that are still alive. also we know the aircraft carrier "uss reagan" is stationed in the sea of japan. helicopters there are using the deck of that carrier as a staging area to deliver supplies to some base camps there. also to refuel japanese helicopters, and to help transport japanese troops around to different affected areas. the pentagon has also sent a second carrier to the area and ordered another ship to the region. also in response to the nuclear crisis there, now we've heard of the third nuclear reactor in danger there at the fukushima plant, the nrc here in washington, the nuclear regulatory commission, has sent two officials who have expertise in their -- in their brand of nuclear reactor, these boiling water reactors, to try to help them with that crisis. terrell? >> is washington talking about this nuclear crisis in japan? are lawmakers suggesting we rethink our nuclear plans? >> that was a big topic, terrell, of the sunday talk shows. there's a big movement now among several in congress, also from
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environmentalists, to try to put a halt to this nuclear renaissance that the white house has really been behind. they are supporting nuclear energy, but now some lawmakers, joe lieberman of connecticut and ed markey of massachusetts, and he's on the energy committee, are calling for a rethink, or at least a pause in the u.s.' plan to really support the regulatory renaissance of the nuclear industry, and they really want to put a halt to signing of new nuclear plants in the u.s. we'll see where that goes. for right now the white house said it is still behind providing nuclear energy in a safe manner. that's what the white house says for now. they still want nuclear as part of the energy mix, although they say they will learn from japan's experience. >> could are a moratorium on the way. susan mcginnis in washington this morning. thank you so much. quick break from here. we're back with more on the "cbs morning news." morning news."
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grasp. take a look at this. before and after pictures coming up here. this, the nuclear plant where two reactors are in danger of meltdown. elsewhere, once was once a sparkling green landscape of homes and nearby fields wiped out now by disaster. in the devastated town of sendai. neat arrangements of homes and buildings transformed into a sea of dark mud, and a sharply defined coastline and a valley filled with homes now vanished under the slowly drawing muck and muddy water. as widespread as that damage is in northeast japan one place in particular took the hardest hit. sendai was the closest town to the epicenter of this giant quake and the tsunami got there more quickly and with more force than anywhere else. bill whitaker reports. >> reporter: sendai is the center of destruction from the earthquake and tsunami is now the center of suffering and misery. the devastation is breathtaking. wreckage, debris, mud as far as the eye can see. the horror compounded by fires erupting everywhere. this woman, trapped in a car for
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20 hours. earlier, this preschool children and their teacher rescued from the water by soldiers, one by one. this is a nation of survivors. this may look like a lake but it's actually a main thoroughfare through the city of sendai. people are walking and riding through here, as if lost. this man lost his wife. he's smiling because he just got word she might have ridden out the quake, and the tsunami on an upper floor of the airport. he's off to find her. this man's house is half-filled with muddy water. his business washed away. it's unbelievable, he says, i never experienced such an earthquake. few places in the world have experienced such an earthquake. first, the earth here shook. then was flooded. then the sky was ablaze from this massive fire at the port. tens of thousands are being housed and fed in city-run shelters. but there's hardship even here. food rations are only going to children and seniors over 75,
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says this woman. still, the electricity is off for more than half a million households and businesses. there are still no phones. no water. what they do have plenty of is aftershocks and fear. some of the aftershocks are major earthquakes in their own right, 6 and above on the richter scale. when we got here we saw people running for higher ground. there had been another aftershock, and people were fearing another tsunami. that's a reflex reaction here now. bill whitaker, cbs news, sendai, japan. meanwhile, elsewhere overseas the latest in the ongoing civil war in libya. france is pressing for a no-fly zone to be established. that follows a weekend request from the arab league. this morning it's unclear who controls the key oil town of brega. early yesterday, it appeared that troops loyal to moammar gadhafi had retaken brega using tanks, aircraft and naval bombardment. but last night rebel forces said they recaptured the town. brega is less than 150 miles from the rebel stronghold of benghazi. state department spokesman p.j.
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crowley has resigned. it came after he caused a stir with comments about the suspect in the wikileaks case. crowley described the army treatment of bradley manning as ridiculous and stupid. manning is being held in solitary confinement. in a statement yesterday crowley said he took responsibility for his remarks and given their impact has submitted his resignation. >> a hacker group called anonymous released documents about bank of america this morning. they say the e-mails expose corruption and fraud at the largest u.s. bank. the documents concern improper mortgage processes at the bank which were used to foreclose on homeowners. anonymous supports embattled wikileaks founder julian assange who was forced to shut down his site after being arrested on suspicion of committing sexual assault. we'll take a quick break. we will have your weather forecast in just a bit. first, though, this is the "cbs morning news." from nasal allergy symptoms. they can hit you year round... indoors or out. achoo! oh to have relief.
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pacific northwest. southwest and southeast can look forward to warm weather and sunny skies. four people injured after a chemical plant blew up in massachusetts recovering this morning. the explosion shook nearby homes and took firefighters about an hour to put out the blaze. the facility makes plastic. and adhesives. environmental protection teams are monitoring the air and water quality. the cause of that blast is still being investigated. two sheriff's deputies were killed, two others wounded in virginia. the officers were shot while responding to a robbery call. state police say the two deputies who died were shot from long range. the wounded deputies were hit at the scene. one has life-threatening injuries. the other is in serious condition. the suspect was killed in a shoot-out. some residents in -- in the northeast are waiting to go home after devastating floods. the rising water from rivers in northern new jersey forced hundreds to evacuate. the national weather service says the passaic river crested saturday night but officials say flooding is a concern for the next few days.
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and apple is fielding a new round of complaints about a glitch in its popular iphone. many iphone users discovered sunday morning that their phones had missed the spring forward time change. for daylight saving time. at least some users' phones actually fell back an hour making them two hours off, turning the phone off and on again apparently sets the clock properly. when we come back we'll update our top story. the continuing crisis in japan. and new worries this morning of a nuclear meltdown. this is the "cbs morning news." news for dessert lovers. s introducing activia dessert. rich yogurt with desserty flavors like strawberry cheesecake and peach cobbler. mmm. you've got to try this. ♪ activia activia dessert.
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on the "cbs morning news" here's a look at today's weather. much of the nation will be seeing calm conditions except for sections of the south. thunderstorms will form later today in the northwest. expert rain on the coast and snow in the mountains. cool temperatures can be found in the northern plains and the northeast. an update now on our top story this morning. it's estimated that friday's
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earthquake in japan and the tsunami that followed killed more than 10,000 people. another 1,000 bodies were found this morning. 100,000 japanese troops, the largest mobilization since world war ii, have been sent to lead the aid effort. since friday, there have been more than 150 aftershocks. this morning there was a second explosion at a containment building at the fukushima nuclear power plant. 11 people were injured, one seriously, and a third reactor lost its cooling capabilities, raising the possibility of another explosion. engineers suspect there has been a partial meltdown, and radioactive gas has leaked into the air. nearly 200,000 people have been evacuated from the area. across the country, millions are without power and heat in near-freezing temperatures and water, food and fuel are running out. japanese stocks fell sharply today. by one estimate the disaster will cost over $1770 billion. this morning on "the early show," full coverage of the
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disaster. i'm terrell brown. this is the "cbs morning news." little bit later on this morning on "the early show." you can catch the latest then. i'm terrell brown. last year. (oof). i had a bum knee that needed surgery. but it got complicated, because i had an old injury. so i wanted a doctor who had done this before. and unitedhealthcare's database helped me find a surgeon. you know you can't have great legs, if you don't have good knees. we're 78,000 people looking out for 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. parentheses have a place. but not on your face. juvéderm® xc is the gel filler your doctor uses to instantly smooth out lines right here. temporary side effects include redness, pain, firmness, swelling,
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get a kit, make a plan, be informed. visit in japan, certainly couldn't predict last week's devastating earthquake before it happened. their system, though, did alert people quickly and may have saved many lives. unlike here in the u.s., japan has been preparing for a giant quake for many years. daniel sieberg reports. >> reporter: 6,000 people were killed in the kobe quake of 1995. that was japan's wake-up call. the government authorized half a billion dollars to outfit the country with more than 1,000 ground sensors that measure the distance between quake waves. it's designed to trigger alerts on tv, radio, and cell phones seconds before more tremors hit. possibly saving lives. >> japan is the only country that can provide such information on the early warning system. >> reporter: japan pours $100 million annually into earthquake
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research and preparedness. >> i think it's the world's best seismic network. >> reporter: geographically, japan is only 4% the size of the u.s. but its annual quake budget is about twice what it is here. still, one project in the u.s. hopes understanding quakes will lead to early warnings. >> the idea is just like a black box on an airplane, it's not going to keep the airplane from falling out of the sky, but it does provide the aerospace industry and the safety experts to understand why that plane fell out of the sky. >> reporter: those instruments were handed out to 1200 volunteers in california, to gather information about what happens when a quake hits. >> earthquake prediction, nobody has reliably done that. it would be more towards earthquake understanding. >> reporter: getting a warning of several seconds is one thing. but what about more than that? during a test at the lawrence-berkeley lab last year, ernie major and his team were able to see specific changes in the ground hours before a small earthquake hit.
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is it possible one day that these types of devices in the ground will lead to an early morning system? >> possibly. who knows. maybe 10, 15 years from now. by understanding the physics of the process, and watching it, and saying uh-oh, there's one coming. >> reporter: but at $5,000 apiece, these are the only instruments in the country right now. by comparison, they're installed all over japan. that country also regiments drills like these, and has enforced new building codes with design innovations that allow skyscrapers to teeter instead of topple. >> any heavy content of the building, if not secured to the walls of the building, they will tend to be tossed around -- >> reporter: and cause injuries or worse? >> exactly. >> reporter: but without significantly more funding those types of tests remain in the lab, leaving millions of people vulnerable. it may be a hard lesson learned from the tragic images in japan which could have been even worse. daniel sieberg, cbs news, new york. coming up a little bit later
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on, full coverage of the unfolding disaster from japan. we'll have the latest from the scene, stories from survivors and expert analysis on what lies ahead. all that and more this morning on "the early show." that's the "cbs morning news" for this monday. appreciate you watching. i'm terrell brown. have a great day. tg. ,,,,,,,,
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